I inherited a 115-pound, seven-year-old Great Dane from my daughter. At my daughter’s house, she was kept in a very large metal cage most of the day because of work and school. No issues were ever reported. At my house, she tears up anything inside her cage, even if we are gone for a short time. We no longer put anything in the cage, but she tries to work the two latches open. When we return, both she and the cage floor are covered in drool.
We give her a treat before we leave, but she never played with toys, and I am afraid that if I give her one of those supermarket large bones, she might tear it apart and maybe even choke on it. Any suggestions? – John, Weston, Florida
I agree with you on the large bones. Dogs need to be supervised with those kinds of treats. But you can try a hard rubber Kong toy that is filled with treats and will engage her longer. You can also give her some melatonin (Dr. Linda Aronson of Petshrink.com in Berlin, Massachusetts recommended 1 mg three times a day in one of my previous columns) to reduce her anxiety.
Your inherited dog, however, may be suffering from some separation anxiety at being away from your daughter, and because she is cooped up in a kennel all day that would be the only place where she can express her displeasure. Or she simply may have had it with being left in the kennel all the time and desperately wants out.
If she is housetrained, then I think she would fare much better both mentally and physically being left outside the kennel, especially for your short trips, to see how she does. Because of her size and age, I think she will just want to find a better place to sleep all day.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal